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Rutherfordton has a long and rich history full of intrigue, mystery and of course, gold. Many of the downtown buildings and homes stand as they did close to 200 years ago, and now you can tour them as you stroll through the streets of Rutherfordton and explore:
Can't get enough? You're in luck, this entire tour is available online with additional pictures and extended history about each point of interest. You can even follow along as you walk, using your smartphone to scan the QR code on the plaque in front of each property.
View online at:
View the Rutherfordton Trails Historic Walking Tour map.
Welcome to Downtown Rutherfordton. Rutherfordton was founded in 1787 and we are very proud of our historic town! On this tour you will travel about 2 miles on foot but hundreds of years in rich history. From Rutherfordton Town Hall, follow Main Street to St. Francis Church and the City Cemetery (0.7 mile). Return via 6th Street and North Washington Street to the Main Street Park on 1st Street. Along the way there are restaurants, shops, and galleries as well as heritage exhibits in the Rutherford County Office Building and the historic Bechtler House on 6th Street where you will find information about the Bechtler Mint site and many other county attractions.
The Norris Public Library was designed by noted Charlotte architect Louis H. Asbury. It opened in 1934.
Built as a post office in 1930, the Georgian-Revival federal building was renamed in 2000 to honor Woodrow Wilson Jones, a native of Rutherford County who served in Congress and was appointed as a federal judge.
The Court House (with the white columns) was built in 1836. It burned in 1907. The two-story brick building next to it was once an Opera House.
Part of the Hill's Hardware building was once the Southern Hotel.
The current Court House, completed in 1926, was designed by Louis H. Asbury. The Confederate Memorial on the Court House lawn was dedicated in 1910.
Harvey Carrier built two homes for his family. The older home (6A) was built about 1835 in the Federal style. The shingled gables and sawn work were added after the Civil War. The second house (6B) was built for Carrier's daughter in 1879. The Carrier Houses are now a bed and breakfast inn.
The congregation of First Baptist Church was organized in 1851. The current Classic Revival church building was built in the early 1920s.
The First United Methodist Church completed a frame church on Main Street in 1878. The current brick church dates to 1925.
St. John's Episcopal Church (1848) is now owned by the Rutherford County Historical Society.
In 1780, the volunteer "Overmountain Men" followed Cleghorn Creek in their pursuit of loyalist troops under Col. Patrick Ferguson. The colonial victory at King's Mountain was a turning point in the American Revolution.
St. Francis Episcopal Church was built in 1899 by Col. Franklin Coxe as a memorial for his parents. It is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture. Several Tiffany windows were added in the 1930s.
Follow the sidewalk through the Coxe family graveyard to the Rutherfordton Cemetery. The earliest legible headstones date to the 1830s.
The private Holly Hill residence dates to the 1830s. It is a fine example of Greek Revival style.
The Christopher Bechtler House (1838). Bechtler operated a private mint during the 1830s and minted the nation's first $1 gold coin.
A cluster of homes on North Washington showcases 19th century architecture: the late Victorian A. T. Lynch home (15A); the Gothic Revival Rucker-Eaves (15B) built between 1858 and 1870; and the Queen Anne style Hardin-Powers home (15C) which was built in the 1870s.
The Rutherfordton Presbyterian Church still occupies the site selected in the 1830s. This building dates to 1952. It replaced a frame building from 1877.
Large windows gave light to the second-floor council chambers in the First City Hall which opened in 1925 with room for the fire department on the first floor. The building is now a privately owned inn.
Cedar Inn was built before the Civil War and operated continuously as a boarding house until 1986.
Soon after they founded Rutherford Hospital in 1906, the Norris family built St. Luke's Chapel. It is located on Hospital Drive below the Emergency entrance.
Rutherfordton-Spindale Middle School on Charlotte Road opened as a high school in 1925. This impressive building overlooks the town from its hilltop location.